“Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14)

by Shiu Lan
Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isaiah 25:6-10A

Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20

Matthew 22:1-14

In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus teaches us with another parable. The kingdom of heaven is compared to a king who gives a wedding banquet for his son. When the invited guests do not show up, the invitation is extended to everyone whom his slaves would find on the streets.

Jesus teaches us time and again that divine salvation is for each and every one of us, regardless of who we are. But when we accept the call of God and partake in the banquet, we accept the call of God, we are expected to wear a wedding robe, otherwise the king would tell the attendants to throw us “into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 22:14).

Putting on a wedding robe is to conform to a dress code, a code of behavior. If the dress code is not beach wear, I cannot wear shorts and flip flops to a restaurant for fine dining. If I do this, I would not be allowed in; I am disrespectful of the other guests. If the kingdom of heaven is the banquet, the wedding robe symbolizes my thoughts, words and deeds. If I accept God’s call for redemption, I must conform to what is expected of my Christian faith.

Sometimes I have the opportunity to attend daily Mass at noon. I am almost a stranger in that church and yet every time I go there, I am amazed by the warmth and welcome from the people around me. On one dull, snowy and stormy winter day, I bumped my car into someone’s car in the church parking lot. I was forgiven right away before my apologies without my asking. On another bitterly cold day, I did not have my gloves with me and a gentle lady whom I did not know pulled out a pair of gloves from her purse and made me wear it for the short walk to church. In them, I see what “people of goodwill” means when we pray the “Glory to God” at Mass. There is so much to learn from them, to whom I am a stranger. They are attending the wedding banquet with the proper attire. I must be like them, I must live my life “in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27).

The moral of the parable is, we must remember, “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). We must follow and imitate Jesus, conform our will to God’s and join the priest as he prays the Eucharistic Prayer during Mass to “order our days in your peace, and command that we be delivered from eternal damnation and counted among the flock of those you have chosen” (Eucharistic Prayer I).